Good, Indeed!

Take courage and be stout-hearted,
all you who hope in the Lord.

Psalm 31:25

When I remarked to Annie that she’ll enjoy the second holiday of the school year on Columbus Day, my teacher friend announced, “God is good!” As soon as I heard her exclamation, images of my great-aunt Sister Gerard came to mind. Like Annie, Sister Gerard often used this phrase in response to the blessings in her life. Come to think of it, Sister Gerard also repeated this observation in the aftermath of tragedies as well. This dear woman was convinced that God infused goodness into the best of time, the worst of times and everything in between.

My teacher friend will find reason to praise God in the small gift of that free Monday by picking apples and reconnecting with her own children. Like Sister Gerard, she finds God’s favor in all of the moments of her life. This was especially true when her sister became ill and their time together was suddenly limited to only a few months. It was their faith in God’s goodness which sustained my friend and her sister through it all.

Like Sister Gerard and Annie, I’m convinced that God’s goodness is always within reach. Whether in the joy of a day off, in the warmth of the autumn sun or in the eyes of a loved one who will leave us too soon, God is with us. Whatever the tone of the moment at hand, we can always find proof that, indeed, God is good!

Good and Wondrous God, you are good! Thank you!

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Good God!

She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd
and put her hand on his cloak. “If I just touch his clothing,”
she thought, “I will get well.”

Mark 5:27-28

In recognition an impending day off, my friend who is a teacher announced, “God is good!” As soon as I heard her exclamation, images of my great-aunt Sister Gerard came to mind. Like my teacher friend, Sister Gerard often used this phrase in response to the blessings in her life. Come to think of it, Sister Gerard also repeated this observation in the aftermath of tragedies large and small. This dear woman was convinced that God infused goodness into the best and worst of times and into everything in between. Today, I’m going to take a lesson from my teacher friend. Today, I will find reason to praise God in the gift of this new day. I’ll also take a lesson from my dear great-aunt. Like Sister Gerard, I will look for God’s favor in every moment which lies ahead.

you know, the woman in Mark’s gospel who struggled through the crowd to touch Jesus’ cloak offers a lesson as well. She knew God’s goodness was within reach. Her efforts paved the way for the rest of us to reach for the same in the joy of a day off, in the warmth of the autumn sun or in the eyes of a loved one who will leave us too soon. When we look carefully into the moment at hand, we find that, indeed, God is good!

Good and Wondrous God, thank you for everything!

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Rejoice!!!

All you people, clap your hands;
shout to God with cries of gladness.

Psalm 47:2

Once again, my computer desk has fallen into a state of complete disarray. This morning, I spent an hour organizing, sorting and recycling. I’d accumulated quite an assortment of items I hoped would inspire future articles or reflections. As I made my way through that pile, a bright red booklet caught my eye. It was the program from my granddaughter’s Christmas Concert at her preschool. Though almost five months have passed since Christmas, I stopped cleaning, got online and went to my husband’s Facebook page. After several minutes, I worked my way back to the video of Claire’s performance. She and her classmates enacted each verse of each carol perfectly. They maintained their smiles, clapped their hands and shook tambourines with all of their might. What a joyful noise they made! It was with great reluctance that I left that video and returned to my cluttered desk.

Oddly, I returned to that mess with a smile. I simply could not shake the Christmas Spirit that Claire’s performance had renewed in me. As I considered that rekindled warmth, I wondered if I dismiss the joy of other events a bit too easily as well.

So it is that I return to this page with a pledge to hang on to the joy ahead in whatever form it comes for as long a possible. Thank you, Claire!

Dear God, you have gifted us with hearts capable of great joy. Help us to appreciate and to savor every morsel of joy we receive until the next bit comes our way. At the same time, help us to share our joy with one another.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

God Is Good!

She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd
and put her hand on his cloak. “If I just touch his clothing,”
she thought, “I will get well.”

Mark 5:27-28

In recognition of today’s Columbus Day holiday, my friend who is a teacher announced, “God is good!” As soon as I heard this exclamation, images of my great-aunt Sister Gerard came to mind. Like my teacher friend, Sister Gerard often used this phrase in response to the blessings in her life. Come to think of it, Sister Gerard also repeated this observation in the aftermath of tragedies large and small. This dear woman was convinced that God infused goodness into the best and worst of times and into everything in between.

Today, my teacher friend finds reason to praise God in the small gift of a free Monday when she can pick apples and reconnect with her own children. Like Sister Gerard, she finds God’s favor in all of the moments of her life. This was especially true when her sister became ill and their time together was suddenly limited to only a few months. It was her faith in God’s goodness which sustained my friend and her sister through it all.

The woman in Mark’s gospel who struggled through the crowd to touch Jesus’ cloak was on the right track. She knew God’s goodness was within reach. Her efforts paved the way for the rest of us to reach for the same in the joy of a day off, in the warmth of the autumn sun or in the eyes of a loved one who will leave us too soon. When we look carefully into the moment at hand, we find that, indeed, God is good!

Good and Wondrous God, thank you for everything!

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

A Lifetime Of Opportunities

Hear me, O islands. Listen, O distant peoples.
The LORD called me from birth.
From my mother’s womb, he gave me my name.

Isaiah 49:1

When I return to my writing projects only to find how little I have accomplished, I wonder if the things I do every day make a real difference to anybody. I ask myself why I allow so many things to distract me from what I consider to be my calling. Oddly, whenever I succumb to this melancholy, some kind soul inadvertently interrupts my brooding. He or she thanks me for something I have said or written or done to help them. Most often, I have forgotten these gestures, but that is not the point. Those I helped remember, and that is all that matters.

Now I realize that this is Lent and that our focus is on our preparations for Easter. Still, my thoughts turn to an annual Christmas indulgence which never ceases to inspire me, my viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life. Frank Capra had the right idea when he insisted upon directing this film in spite of the many issues that threatened the film’s completion. Capra claimed that every life has intrinsic value and he used his role as director to convince us all of the same. I will always be grateful for this stubbornness because Capra’s George Bailey has rescued me from self-doubt and regret more times than I can count. George eventually came to see that this is a wonderful life and so have I.

Loving God, thank you for the moments of opportunity which are my life. Help me to appreciate and to make the most of each one.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Celebrate Life

Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.

From Psalm 145

When my eldest grandchild was born, I organized our pictures of her and the rest of us from Day 1. Some family members and friends acknowledged my new role as “Grandma” by gifting me with photo albums and I have put each one to good use. Rather than storing them away, I display the albums on our coffee table for easy access. I don’t want to forget a bit of this new adventure.

Two more grandchildren and a few memorable trips have enticed me to keep this “album thing” going. Eleven volumes later, I find that my thinking in this regard is sound. When visiting, our grandchildren, their parents and their aunt and uncle peruse these albums often. Numerous conversations regarding the places we have been, the kids’ growth spurts and a variety of special occasions result. The smiles that accompany all of this indicate that my photo album collection is truly a celebration of who we are and where we have been.

Though I have no photographic evidence, I am certain that my family and I have not been alone in all of this. God has been with us every step -and click of the camera- along the way.

Generous God, thank you for the memories, for today and for everything to come. This life is a blessing. Please give us the wisdom and the good humor to enjoy it to the full.

©2013 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved